Julie Kane—Featured Poet


Pro and Con

She can’t believe her luck: this handsome man
Has asked her for a date. He’s six-foot-five
And recently divorced. He takes her hand
And nerves asleep for decades come alive.

“What do you do, exactly?” That’s his cue
To tell her how terrific she would feel
With magnet force-field inserts in each shoe:
And, this week only, there’s a special deal.


Emily, Walt, and Edna Rewrite “Heartbreak Hotel”


‘Tis down a Street—called Lonely—
That Guest House—where I dwell—
The Bell Hops’ Tears—keep flowing—
The Guests—have tales to tell.

Eons—since Baby left me—
To Desk Clerks—garbed in Black—
And I surmised—the Lodgers’ Eyes
Weren’t ever looking back.


I saw at the end of Lonely Street, with tear-filled orbs I mark’d it,
Saw the mournful hotel call’d Heartbreak, the lodge of the forsaken,
And I knew that, though it contain’d multitudes, I could always find a room there,
And I knew that it was a dwelling-place for broken-hearted lovers,
The bellhops weeping and moaning, and I longing to comfort them,
The desk clerks keening in black, and I longing to ease their sorrows,
To part the jet cloth from their bosom-bones and thrust my rude tongue athwart them.


I shan’t be checking into that hotel,
Although some say there is a vacancy:
The somber occupants have tales to tell
And fain would blame their broken hearts on me.
Awake I’ve lain in every numbered room
Beside a husband of a single night
Who can do naught but weep away his gloom
Midst clerks in garments colored anthracite.
Ask not why death forsakes this mournful inn
Whose lodgers grieve for my ephemeral charms,
Nor why I jilted them to lie in sin
Each weeknight in a diff’rent pair of arms:
Believe that ardour drew me to each man,
But Baby’s got a short attention span.


Pillow Talk

The pillow that he drooled in
Still slumbers next to mine
Atop the bed we fooled in:
A soggy-feathered shrine.

You may think I’m a crackpot,
My room a sad hotel:
But it’s a bio-jackpot,
Were I to cast a spell.


It’s So Hard to Get Good Help These Days

For household help, enlist a pup!
He’ll labor if put to it.
For instance, cleaning cat barf up
(though not the way you’d do it).


The Cap

He wore the cap
In his photo online.
“A sporty fellow,”
You thought at the time.

He wore the cap
In a video chat.
“Receding hairline,”
You thought about that.

He wore the cap
When he rang your front bell.
“How big is that bald spot?”
You asked yourself.

He wore the cap
When he took you for drinks.
“A wart on his bald spot?”
Was all you could think.

With tie & jacket
The cap was worn
To an elegant restaurant.
Was his skull deformed?

Now you’re in the bathroom
And he’s in the bed,
You hope in a cap,
Though not on his head.


Yuck List

Things less gross
when they’re your own:

a poopy baby,
a germy phone,

bad breath on waking,
a bathroom groan,

a nose’s pickings,
excess cologne,

a toenail paring,
one hair, alone.


“Emily, Walt, and Edna Rewrite ‘Heartbreak Hotel'” was published previously in Paper Bullets (White Violet Press, 2014)

Julie Kane’s most recent book is Paper Bullets (White Violet Press, 2014). Her light verse has appeared in Light, Lighten Up Online, Poemeleon, Prairie Schooner, So It Goes: The Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and Southern Women’s Review, among other journals. The 2011-2013 Louisiana Poet Laureate, she teaches at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana.